You must be 21 to buy cigarettes, but won’t need a gun permit in Iowa starting today

The Iowa Capitol Building [Carol M. Highsmith photo]

A host of new state laws went into effect today in Iowa, including a new minimum age to buy tobacco and you don’t need a permit to buy or carry a handgun.

Beginning Thursday, you must be 21 years old to buy tobacco products, which brings Iowa in line with nationwide regulations and prevents the state from losing federal funding for substance abuse programs.

Iowa residents won’t need to get a permit to try to buy a gun or carry a concealed weapon, but will still have to pass a background check at the point of sale. People will also be able to carry firearms in most public places without prior safety training.

Other laws that began on July 1 allow those with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe autism to qualify for the state’s medical marijuana program and raises the THC limit to 4.5 grams per 90 days; more severe penalties for animal cruelty crimes; to-go mixed beverages sold by restaurants are now permanently allowed; new charter schools can now apply directly to the state and no longer have to seek permission from local school districts; places severe limits on diversity and inclusivity training at government jobs and in school curriculum; and kids lemonade stands are now legal.

One law slated to start Thursday has been blocked by a Johnson County judge that would have required anyone seeking an abortion to wait 24 hours following their initial appointment.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed suit saying the bill violates due process and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.